Reminiscing Last Week: Parliament, Giri Bandhu Tea Estate and SC


February 12, 2024


Reminiscing Last Week: Parliament, Giri Bandhu Tea Estate and SC

KATHMANDU: Khabarhub provides an in-depth weekly recap of significant events every Monday morning.

The winter session of the Federal Parliament commenced last week with agenda including the official communication inviting the session from the President and the letter outlining the received responsibilities from the President’s office.

Meanwhile, last week, the Supreme Court (SC) overturned land swap decision involving Giri Bandhu Tea Estate made by former KP Oli-led government.

The SC nullified the decision of the previous government led by Oli, allowing land swapping in the Giri Bandhu Tea Estate case in Jhapa.

The Constitutional Bench, comprising Chief Justice Bishwombhar Prasad Shrestha, and Justices Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, Prakash Man Singh Raut, Sapana Pradhan Malla and Sushma Lata Mathema, declared the decision void.

The matter concerning Giri Bandhu Tea Estate’s land was being reviewed by the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court.

During the tenure of Prime Minister KP Oli, amendments were made to the Land Act, enabling Giri Bandhu Tea Estate to exchange around 280 bighas of land.

The tea estate aimed to swap its Birtamod land, valued at Rs 200 million per bigha, for more affordable land in Prithvinagar, Jhapa.

Advocate Om Prakash Aryal challenged the Land Act amendment, specifically disputing the provision allowing Giri Bandhu Tea Estate to conduct the land swap. Aryal filed the writ on August 15, 2021.

In another development last week, Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) took action to dismantle houses and physical structures constructed by individuals encroaching upon the land owned by the Pashupatinath Temple Trust.

The PADT commenced the identification and demarcation of the structures with the assistance of the technical team from KMC.

PADT revealed instances where individuals encroached upon 3 ropanis, 6 anas, and 1 paisa of land at Gancha Pokhari in KMC-8, three ropanis 8 anas of land at Bhagawansthan in KMC-3, and some land at Lama Pokhari, Sifal, where illegal structures were erected.

Meanwhile, Nepal was eliminated from the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-19 Women’s Football Championship.

Nepal was beaten by India by 0-4 in the last match under the league round held in Dhaka, Bangladesh today.

In another development, President Ram Chandra Paudel appointed Padam Prasad Pandey as the new Secretary-General of the Federal Parliament Secretariat.

The Office of the President announced Pandey’s appointment to the role of Secretary-General, the leading administrative position in the parliament.

He was appointed to the post as per Article 106 (1) of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, central member of the Nepali Congress and former minister, Keshav Kumar Budhathoki, passed away at the age of 80 last week while undergoing treatment in Biratnagar.

Budhathoki, a prominent leader and resident of Jhapa Arjundhara Municipality, affectionately known as the “Seto Bagh” (White Tiger), succumbed to complications arising from prostate cancer.

Keshav Kumar Budhathoki

In another development, the Judicial Council (JC), made recommendations, calling for the appointment and transfer of a total of 12 judges from both the High Court and District Courts.

For the High Court, the JC has proposed the transfer of three judges.

Rameshwar Regmi from High Court Surkhet was recommended for a transfer to Patan High Court, while Kazi Bahadur Rai from High Court Surkhet was slated for relocation to Ilam Bench of High Court Biratnagar.

Additionally, Bishnu Prasad Aryal from High Court Tulsipur Butwal bench was transferred to work in High Court Tulsipur.

Rishiram Acharya from District Court Kaski was recommended to move to District Court Lalitpur, Hari Prasad Koirala from District Court Sunsari was proposed for a transfer to District Court Kaski, and Avni Mainali Bhattarai from District Court Kaski was recommended to move to District Court Makwanpur.

Similarly, Pramesh Pokharel of Tehrathum District Court was recommended for a transfer to District Court Parsa, Tej Bahadur Khadka from Rautahat District Court was recommended for relocation to Jhapa District Court, and Bhim Bahadur Niraula from Jhapa District Court was transferred to Tehrathum District Court.

On the economic front, the fiscal year 2080-81 mid-year review highlighted significant strides in Nepal’s external economic sector.

As per the economic and financial report unveiled by the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) last week, foreign currency reserves were anticipated to sustain for a year, covering the value of goods and services imports, by the end of Paush.

Nepal Rastra Bank, Baluwatar in Kathmandu

The total foreign exchange reserves, which amounted to Rs 1.539 trillion until the conclusion of Ashad, witnessed an impressive 18% growth over six months, reaching Rs 1.816 trillion by the close of Poush.

Meanwhile, a Chinese national, identified as 29-year-old Cui Bingcan, was arrested by the police at Tribhuvan International Airport last week for attempting to illegally transport 25,000 US dollars to Guangzhou, China.

The arrest was made during a routine security check at the hand baggage check-in counter, preventing the suspect from boarding a China-Southern flight.

The detained individual, carrying 250 units of US dollar banknotes with a denomination of 100, is now in custody and has been transferred to the Pulchowk-based Revenue Investigation Department for further investigation and legal action.

Likewise, the government’s high-level commission, tasked with investigating the tragic Balkumari incident, was granted a 15-day extension for its probe.

The incident, sparked by a clash between EPS Korean Language students and security personnel during a protest, resulted in the unfortunate death of two youths.

The clash also saw the torching of a vehicle belonging to Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Prakash Jwala.

The extended deadline was confirmed by Ek Dev Adhikari, the Information Officer at the Home Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has taken significant steps by filing cases against 249 individuals on charges of encroaching upon government-owned land in Tikapur.

Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority.

After an extensive investigation, the CIAA lodged the case at the Special Court in Kathmandu, marking a significant development in addressing land-related malpractices.

The accused individuals, including the former Chairman of Tikapur Municipality Development Committee, committee members, and other officials, stand accused of orchestrating fraudulent activities.

In another development, the high-level investigation commission appointed by the government to scrutinize the gold smuggling case has recently taken the statement of former Speaker of Parliament, Krishna Bahadur Mahara.

Mahara faced questioning regarding his potential involvement in a gold smuggling operation facilitated through electronic cigarettes, commonly known as vape.